Published on February 26th, 2015 | by Dapper Dan0
The Wicked + The Divine 8 – Review
“The Dancefloor That Walks Like A Man!” is what this issue would be called if it had been in Tales To Astonish, circa 1960.
The Wicked + The Divine issue 8 brings us one step closer to Laura meeting the entire godwheel, with the introduction of Dionysus. Dionysus is, as you will all know being students of the classics, the Greek god of wine. He was not just fond of a tipple or two; he is also the god of ritual madness, theatre and religious ecstasy. It’s these qualities that inform much of his modern incarnation in The Wicked + The Divine. On a personal note, much as I hate the expression “YOLO” (feeling like it’s “Carpe Diem” for idiots) I did like Dionysus’ shirt reading “YOL∞”. If the imminent Lucifer t-shirts are a success, I’d put money on a Dionysus design coming soon.
After finally reading one of the dozens of flyers thrust at her last issue, Laura meets Inanna at a warehouse for a Saturday night she’ll not forget in a hurry. Dionysus’ powers manifest as a contact high, drawing Laura into a mass experience. This issue’s colours are incredible. Matthew Wilson’s work on the book continues to excel above and beyond any expectations. While Jamie McKelvie’s 8 panel pages are stripped down to four panels and the familiar 1, 2, 3, 4 of divine powers in use, the book comes alive with colour. Backgrounds are bright, characters leave trails as they move, people glow and blur as they dance. It’s incredibly evocative of the rave culture that Dionysus represents. I’d recommend listening to Josh Wink’s “Higher State of Consciousness”, or Faithless’ “Salva Mea” or “God Is A DJ” while you read this issue. Possibly obvious choices, but they feel appropriate.
Embracing the night and taking part seems to rely on a degree of belief too. Cassandra can’t hear the music, maybe she didn’t touch Dionysus on arrival or, more likely IMO, her cynicism and lack of belief in the Pantheon means she can’t experience the night in the same way as those who choose to believe. Approached by Woden, with suggestions of her dream job, Cass punches the air. Classical Cassandra had lies whispered in her ear by snakes, which gave her the ability of precognition. That’d be handy for a journalist, wouldn’t it?
After his appearance last issue where he was an utter shit to Brunhilde, Woden continues to give a real Doctor Doom vibe; scarred by his own arrogance, masked in armour, arrogant, manipulative, total dick. He seems easily cast in the villain role, although if The Wicked + The Divine has taught us anything, it’s that there is no “good” or “evil” at play here. These gods are as fickle and capricious as teenagers. Oh, waitaminute…
Amidst the colours and shapes of a lost weekend, Laura continues her investigation into who really killed the judge back in issue 1. It’s these interactions that have continued to give the gods their human side. Amongst themselves the Pantheon can fall back into bickering like siblings or rivals, but when faced with a human who isn’t utterly in awe of them (At least, not any more) they reveal a bit more the humanity they had before incarnating.
Kieron Gillen’s work has always produced engaging, flawed characters and The Wicked + The Divine is no exception. Series a-holes Baphomet and Baal have spent the past two issues showing they are more than their swaggering stage personas, with Baphomet dropping a potentially big clue and Baal *finally* calling Laura, Laura. All this time have the nicknames and verbal jabs been the equivalent of pulling her pigtails in the playground?
Weirdly, while Inanna’s seemingly affable nature made me incredibly suspicious of him, I warmed to Dionysus immediately. He accepts that he’s on borrowed time and wants to let as many people experience his personal brand of bliss before he passes on. Has anyone else from the godwheel said anything as altruistic? Dionysus’ powers and outlook mask their own significant drawbacks and he’s suffering just as the others do in their own ways. Luci had to be alone and the rebel, that was always her destiny. Woden is trapped inside his armour, able to work wonders for everyone else, but not himself.
And, as anyone who’s ever had to get home in that deadzone between the tube closing and reopening will attest, the night bus is more than a bit rubbish.
Amaterasu continues to make me incredibly suspicious. Either she IS wholly innocent and I’m too suspicious, or she’s doing a terrible job of convincing me otherwise. She remains one to watch. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out she’s an intentional red herring from Gillen.
Woden could have lied in issue 7 when he said the Prometheus Gambit won’t work for the gods themselves. It would be a little too Highlander wouldn’t it? It would be a very easy lie to be caught out by though, so I believe him. It does make me wonder if one member of the wheel wants the others (plus Ananke) eliminated so that they alone continue past the requisite two years.
Oh, one last thing; Baal’s still prominently wearing the lightning bolt fetish that Woden gave him. Curious, as Baal doesn’t seem to approve of how he acts, and Woden doesn’t seem the type to give gifts without strings attached.